Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

Networking For A Better Future - News and perspectives you may not find in the media

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June 16, 2005

Should Pharmaceutical Markets Decline?

British Physicians are prescribing less drugs - for the first time in years, but you won't find it in the press headlines. Quoting Vera Hassner Sharav of the Alliance for Human Research Protection:

"The good news is that British physicians are taking a more cautious approach and cutting down on their prescribing of drugs whose adverse side effects often do more harm than good."
That news doesn't seem printable, or perhaps I am not very good at finding things on Google. What I did find was a CNN piece that says world drug sales are up 6% in 12 months. Reading further into the article however, we find out that ...
Drug-sales growth has slowed markedly around the world in recent years, hit by generic competition to branded medicines and government curbs on healthcare spending. A few years ago, drug manufacturers saw double-digit growth as standard.

Anyway, medicine sales in Britain are down, according to the UK Pharma Times and as you can see from their graphic, what's blamed for the downturn seems to be a "slow uptake" of new drugs in the UK, compared with other countries. Indeed, according to an article in The Times, the president of the Association for the British Pharmaceuticals Industry, Vincent Lawton, has practically accused UK physicians as a whole of Luddism adding that doctors should be forced to prescribe the new drugs. He says industry profits must be protected:

"This is not just a blip. I am quite certain that without intervention the market faces a significant decline."

The big question of course is, should pharmaceutical markets be allowed to decline as a natural consequence of our health getting better - assuming that the purpose of medicine is better health - or should we just continue to consume more and more medicines in order to try and perpetuate a positive profit trend of the pharmaceutical industry. My view is: if Pharma and Western medicine do a good job, they should not be a "growth industry" as people become healthier and healthier.

If, on the other hand, we get sicker and sicker, which seems to be the case, then we must find out what we are doing that is bringing about the decline in health.

There are a few candidates:

- chemical poisons in air, foods and medicines

- radioactive contamination being spread by accident and by design

- microwave contamination of populated areas

- nutrients in our foods getting less and less

None of these reasons for increased illness will be eliminated by selling more and more pharmaceutical medicines for people to swallow.

What to do?

According to a communication of the European Public Health Alliance, the European Union has unified its Health Protection and Consumer programs, and there are some good points in the outline of overall goals, but the program itself falls woefully short of addressing the real problems. You can find the Public Health Alliance's communication at the end of this article.

- - -

Here is how Vera Hassner Sharav describes the recent "incident" in the UK from a US view:

The good news is that British physicians are taking a more cautious approach and cutting down on their prescribing of drugs whose adverse side effects often do more harm than good.

But the pharmaceutical industry is upset because for the first time in 20 years prescription drug sales are down in the UK See IMS Health sales data, 1999-2005 here

No doubt, among the contributing factors to physicians' increased caution were a series of revelations about industry's inordinate influence on the drug approval process: The Health Committee of the British House of Commons report, "The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry," issued April, 2005, is a landmark document not just of value to UK health care officials. It provides American officials and analysts with an intelligent road map for examining the much larger scope of the factors that undermine the health and safety of the American people who consume far more prescription drugs than do the British. See also the AHRP comment.

The Association of British Pharmaceuticals Industry -- whose only concern is profitability -- is calling for "immediate action" to protect its market. In contrast to the US, the UK government pays for health care services under the National Health Service, including prescription drugs. This gives the UK government greater leveredge over physicians' prescribing practice guidelines through the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which evaluates newly approved drugs to ensure the NHS gets value for money from new treatments.

The UK pharmaceutical industry association is lobbying Parliament to adopt rules "to force doctors to prescribe new treatments at the earliest opportunity." Inddeed, the ABPI would make it "obligatory" for general practitioners (GPs) "to take up new drugs as soon as they are approved..."

This demonstrates an inherent conflict of interest--a collision between industry's detrmination to bolster profits, while physicians responsibility to protect the health of their patients. New drugs have not proven to be in the best interest of patients--they have proven to be high income producing products.

According to IMS Health the US leads the world in speed of prescribing new drugs (Spain is a close second); Japan and the UK are more cautious. A study is needed to compareg health and mortality rates in countries that are fast on the trigger prescribing the latest drugs with those that are more cautious.

The bad news is, the FDA has just approved yet another Schedule II controlled substance --DEXMETHYLPHENIDATE HYDROCHLORIDE -- (i.e. addictive stimulant drug) for the treatment of a manufactured epidemic -- ADHD. The FDA has approved long-acting Focalin for use in children and adults in apparent disregard of the risks of adverse effects the drug poses.

The FDA-approved label indicates that in clinical trials 76% of children testing Focalin had adverse events...

- - -

The European Public Health Alliance information on the new combined health and consumer efforts of the EU:

DG SANCO [the Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs] has now finally released the text of the proposed new joint Health and Consumer protection programme (January 2007- December 2013).

This was adopted by the Commission on 6 April 2005 as part of the package of measures that make up the EU Financial Perspectives 2007-2013. The Commission press release accompanying the Financial Perspectives indicated that the total amount allocated to health and consumer protection would be 1.8 billion Euros, but the draft programme text states that the budget will be 1.2 billion.

The Commission argues that for a joint approach because both health and consumer programmes share similar objectives and types of activities. A combined programme would also produce economies of scale and reduce the administrative work for the Commission staff.

The programme would be implemented through the existing Executive Agency which was established in early 2005 to run the Public Health Programme. A new Consumer Institute would be added to the Agency.

The Health part of the programme would have the following objectives:

- First, to protect citizens against health threats.

- Second, to promote policies that lead to a healthier way of life.

- Third, to contribute to reducing the incidence of major diseases in the EU.

- Fourth, to contribute to the development of more effective and efficient health systems.

- Fifth, to support the objectives above by providing health information and analysis.

Instead of the current 3 strands of the Public Health Programme, the new programme will have 6 strands:

1: Enhance surveillance and control of health threats

2: Deliver response to health threats (new strand)

3: Promote health by tackling determinants

4: Prevent diseases and injuries (new strand)

5: Achieve synergies between national health systems (new strand)

6: Generate and disseminate more and better health information to citizens, health experts and policy-makers

The pre-amble of the proposed programme identifies that specialised networks of general European interest that put forward the health, safety and consumer interests of citizens need EU core funding in order to operate. It also states that the principle of gradual decrease of the extent of Community support should not apply to these grants.

Article 3.a states that co-financing for projects and core operating costs would be at 60 % except in cases of "exceptional utility" when the EU funding percentages could rise to 80 % for projects and 95 % for core funding.

- - -

You can find the full text of the Commission's draft proposal here.

See also:

Welcome to the town of Allopath
... this tongue-in-cheek account was authored by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. You can find a lot of health news, but also other information - such as stories on new energy technologies on Mike Adams' site at

Deadly Immunity
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. investigates the government cover-up of a mercury/autism scandal
"If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine."

June 13, 2005: Toronto Star - What's causing cancer?
Chemicals fingered as rates reach epidemic proportions

Why organized medicine wants to outlaw nutrition and turn healers into criminals
How about some truth for a change about the Food Supplements Directive in the European Union? The proponents of this directive say that it's about protecting patients from all these dangerous vitamins, minerals, supplements, plant extracts and antioxidants that are so dangerous for people. They say, "We're going to keep you safe!"

"We the People" Need to Shut Down "Big Pharma"...
The United States is "Big Pharma's" cash generator.  Prices for prescription drugs in the US are five to twenty times higher than the same prescription in other countries.  Fully half of "Big Pharma's" gargantuan cash intake is generated in the US.  If we reign in "Big Pharma" here, they will be reined in worldwide.

Drug Lobby Second to None
How the pharmaceutical industry gets its way in Washington


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Thursday June 16 2005
updated on Thursday December 23 2010

URL of this article:


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